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HER Number:MDV4106
Name:Hut circle settlement 200 metres north-east of Wedlake Farm

Summary

A prehistoric, partly enclosed, hut settlement of 15 hut circles and fragmentary enclosure walls located on the south-western moderate slopes of Whittor, north-east of Wedlake. The settlement is spread over 2.5 hectares (plus one outlying hut circle [A]) extending for 240m north to south. All 15 huts were excavated by the Dartmoor Exploration Committee (1905) and finds included flint, pottery sherds, burnt clay and charcoal. Site was surveyed in August 2019.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 539 777
Map Sheet:SX57NW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishPeter Tavy
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishPETER TAVY

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX57NW15
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 439765
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX57NW/4
  • Old SAM County Ref: 869
  • Old SAM Ref: 22208

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • HUT CIRCLE SETTLEMENT (Bronze Age - 2200 BC to 701 BC (Between))

Full description

National Monuments Record, NMR SX5477 (Aerial Photograph). SDV228500.

Untitled Source (Unattributed Sites and Monuments Register Entry). SDV346734.

Hut settlement with related enclosures north-north-east of Wedlake Farm. Enclosure walls are of usual turf-covered stones, and are in fragmentary condition. In hut circles no entrances are visible. Hut circles A - Q, of which some had thick deposit of burnt clay-like material spread all over the floor.

Baring Gould, S., 1899, Sixth Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee, 146-155 (Article in Serial). SDV344950.

A collection of fifteen hut circles, varying in diameter from 15 to 45 feet, and an enclosure, near Wedlake Farm. Hut circles C and B are surrounded by a stone enclosure, the remaining circles are enclosed by rows of stones. A distinct bank remains on the east side of the stream connecting circles J and K. Excavation has led to finds of charcoal, flint flakes, pieces of pottery, cooking and sling stones, also a small iron horseshoe and what is thought to be a lump of copper ore. Other details: Plan included.

Baring Gould, S., 1905, Tenth Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee, 141-145 (Article in Serial). SDV64587.

Fifteen hut circles connected with the summit of White Tor by a reave were excavated by the Dartmoor Archaeological Exploration Society in 1905. Fifteen hut circles were examined. B and C were surrounded by a stone enclosure and others were partly enclosed. Other details: Figure.
Hut circles near Wedlake Farm.
Hut circle A. A very fine hut circle, 32 feet in diameter externally and 21 feet internally. The entrance was probably to the N or W.
Charcoal, in large, coarse pieces, was found somewhat abundantly; also a piece of spar with fine facet point, and some flint flakes.
Hut circle B. External diameter, 24 feet; internal diameter, 15 feet.
There seemed a possible entrance on W side.
A raised circular platform, about 2 feet high, we pulled to pieces and examined, but with no result.
Hut circle C. External diameter, 15 feet; internal diameter, 8 feet. Probable entrance at the S.
Found a red-stained spar crystal and a piece of iron (?) ore.
Hut circle D. A fine, noble-looking circle, with large stones. Probably entrance on S side towards the stream. A wall to the stream joins there a wall from hut circle K; they probably formed a dam to the stream for some purpose.
A black burnt-looking, clay-like material 3 feet below surface formed a thick floor all over this circle, regarding which Prof. Worthinton wrote:-
My colleague, Dr A Ogg, has kindly analysed this deposit, and reports that "it proves to be very rich oxide of iron. I think it would be worth while to search near the huts, preferably in hollows, to see if the same deposit is general at about the same depth. What its archaeological significance may be, if it should be found only in the huts, I do not know. There is no tin in it, or the merest trace."
Hut circle E. A good circle. External diameter, 25 feet; internal diameter, 17 feet. Doorway on south side paved with stones.
Found some pieces of pottery, some of which were lipped.
The floor was covered with the before-mentioned burnt-clay-looking stuff. A small horseshoe of iron was found on the "culm", 30 inches below the surface.
A striking feature of most of the hut circles in this settlement was, that though the first sight of the tops of the encircling stones on the surface, before excavation, was not particularly emphatic, on digging, the stones were all contiguous underground, and at their bases formed a continuous wall of well-laid stones. The unusual depth of the huts coupled with the last remark, may be due to the watery character of the situation. In nearly every case the digging was about 3 feet below the original surface, before we felt that the excavation was satisfactory.
Hut circle F. External diameter, 28 feet; internal diameter, 18 feet.
There was no sign of an entrance. A heap of stones in the centre probably represented a paved floor. Here we found some pieces of pottery, some charcoal, and some of the burnt-clay-looking stuff.
Hut circle G. External diameter, 32 feet; internal diameter, 18 feet. Floor paved in parts. There was no sign of an entrance. The floor was covered with about 9 inches of the burnt-clay-looking stuff.
Some charcoal and burnt stones and a flint were found in this circle.
Hut circle H. This was not circular by any means. It had a raised-stone portion. There was no evidence observed. The greatest length, external, was from NE to SW, 22 feet; internal, in the same direction, 14 feet.
From N to S, external, 21 feet; internally, 10 feet.
Here we found some flints, one of which was worked , and about 2 1/2 inches long; some small pieces of pottery, two cooking (or sling) stones, and some charcoal.
Hut circle J. A small circle, connected on its north side with circle K by a stone and earth wall running more or less parallel with the stream.
External diameter, 18 feet; internal diameter, 10 feet.
A small portion of a circle on the south side. In each of these we found the ground covered with the burnt-clay-looking stuff.
Hut circle K. External diameter, 24 feet; internal diameter, 14 feet. Connected to D by a wall across the stream NE, and on the S side, to the W of probable entrance, by a wall to J.
Here we found only one piece of flint.
Hut circle L. A good hut circle, with a heap of stones in the middle. External diameter, 24 feet; internal diameter, 15 feet. Probable entrance at the south.
Here we found a large piece of unworked flint; also a lump which the workmen thought was copper ore.
Hut circle M. A well-made hut circle. External diameter, 28 feet; internal diameter, 16 feet. The entrance was at the north, and two evident stone steps there led top the floor.
We found a little charcoal. The floor was a thick, hard mass of the black and burnt-clay-looking stuff.
Hut circle N. Outside diameter, 30 feet. The inside was oval rather than circular; greater diameter, 20 feet; smaller diameter 16 feet.
The hut circle was well paved all over, but under the paving was some of the black burnt-clay-looking stuff.
Here we found nothing but a stone, the shape of which seemed to point to its use as a hammer or pounder.
Hut circles P and Q. A fine small circle 12 feet in diameter. the entrance seemed well indicated on the north side. We found specks of charcoal and traces of fire. One stone seemed much burnt. A few stones on the east side we thought represented the remains of a wall, but the thick furze concealed its identity. We burned this furze down to the ground, and disclosed a perfect and large hut circle (Q), the external diameter of which was 45 feet, and its internal diameter 30 feet. The entrance was to the SE.
Two well-paved portions jutted from each side of the entrance into the circle. In the centre of the hut we found some pieces of pottery and some charcoal. We also found three flints, three cooking stones, and one small (sling) stone.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1950, SX57NW15 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV247002.

(28/09/1950) Quotes 1905 article.
A collection of fifteen hut circles, varying in diameter from
15 to 45 feet, and an enclosure, near Wedlake Farm. Hut circles C and B (see attached plan, taken from authority 2) are surrounded by a stone enclosure, the remaining circles are enclosed by rows of stones. A distinct bank remains on the east side of the stream connecting circles J and K. Excavation has led to finds of charcoal, flint flakes, pieces of pottery, cooking and sling stones, also a small iron horseshoe and what is thought to be a lump of copper ore.

Royal Air Force, 1964, 6399, 0042-3 (Aerial Photograph). SDV228504.

1971, Untitled Source (Un-published). SDV346735.

(Site visited 4/2/1971) Remains of three pounds of dry stone walling and 12 hut circles. Several preserved entrances on south-western sides of hut circles, but most are ruinous.

Department of Environment, 1974, Enclosed stone hut circle settlement on the south slope of White Tor (Schedule Document). SDV346733.

This monument includes an enclosed stone hut circle settlement situated on a gentle south-facing slope of White Tor overlooking the valley of the Colly Brook. Thirteen stone hut circles are associated with three separate enclosures. The interior of the eastern enclosure measures approximately 30.0 meters north-east to south-west and is defined by a wall of orthostatic construction 2.2 meters wide and 0.3 meters high. Only the northern half of the enclosure wall is visible above ground, although the remainder of its circuit probably survives as a buried feature.
Two stone hut circles are attached to the fragmentary eastern length of the enclosure boundary. The interior of the northern enclosure is sub-oval in shape, measures 100 meters north-east to south-west by 65.0 meters north-west to south-east and is defined by an orthostatic wall measuring 2.0 meters wide and 0.6 meters high. Two gaps in the northern wall may be original entrances. Two stone hut circles lie within the enclosure. The southern length of the enclosure forms part of a funnel shaped entrance passage leading into the centre of the settlement. The other side of this entrance is formed by the northern boundary wall of the third enclosure which is irregular in shape, has internal maximum dimensions of around 160 meters north to south by 75.0 meters west to east and is defined by an orthostat wall 2.2 meters wide and 0.4 meters high. Two apparent gaps in the western and southern walls respectively may be the result of limited stone robbing or more likely the walls remain buried beneath an accumulation of peat.
A short length of walling leading westwards from this enclosure may have originally been part of a more extensive field system or be part of a dam used to control water on the site for domestic purposes. Five stone hut circles lie within this enclosure and three are attached to the boundary wall. Eight of the thirteen stone hut circles are oval in plan and measure between 2.5 meters and 5.4 meters long and 2.2 meters and 4.8 meters wide. The remainder are circular and measure between 3.1 meters and 6.4 meters in diameter. The walls of all the huts are composed of stone and earth and measure between 0.5 meters and 0.7 meters high. One hut has an annexe.
All of the stone hut circles were partially excavated by the Dartmoor Exploration Committee in 1905. This work recovered pottery, cooking stones, flint, a sling stone, charcoal, a lump of possible copper ore, iron ore and an iron horseshoe. A number of huts were found to have paved floors. Other details: Previous name: Pounds and hut circles NE of Wedlake.

National Monuments Record, 1977, NMR SX5377, 2/245 (Aerial Photograph). SDV228503.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1978, SX57NW15 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV228498.

(13/10/1978) On the north west side of the Colly Brook near Wedlake at about 350.0m. O.D. is a group of type 2 hut circles and associated enclosures. The huts correspond to those shown as 'A' to 'Q' on Baring-Gould's plan. The internal diameter of the huts varies from 2.5m. to 7.5m. with an average of 4.7m. the width of the walls varies from 1.1m. to 1.8m. with an average of 1.4m. Most of them are in fairly good condition; 'Q' in particular, a large hut in very good condition; several have obviously been excavated. Only two however have recognisable entrances, one on the south, one on the south-east.
The enclosure walling is in general easily traceable, being an average 0.8m. thick and up to 0.5m. in height. The enclosure containing huts 'B' and 'C' measures approximately 90.0m x 60.0m. and forms an almost complete oval; the other enclosures are incomplete. There is no definite evidence of cultivation in the vicinity.
(Type site: SX 56 NE 71). Surveyed at 1:10 000 on P.F.D.

Robinson, R., 1982, List of Field Monument Warden Visits 1982 (Un-published). SDV345608.

Department of Environment Field Monument Warden site visit 1st December 1982.

Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, 1985, Aerial Photograph Project (Dartmoor) - Dartmoor Pre-NMP (Cartographic). SDV319854.

One large enclosure, probably agglomerated, with the beginning of interior walling inside. Probably at least two elements. Connected by short length of walling to probable large enclosure at SX53977775. This enclosure is incomplete on southern circuit. Probably also agglomerated as the wavy eastern edge suggests at least three elements. Eastern walling is cut by a small stream. Four hut circles freestanding within this enclosure (e,f,g,h). One hut circle attached to interior wall of enclosure (d). Two hut circles attached to each other (p,q) may also be attached to exterior wall. Further enclosure to immediate east of other two. Southwest portion of circuit missing. Two hut circles attached to exterior (m,n). Further hut circle (k) to immediate south. To the south, remains of northern circuit of an enclosure at SX54057771.

Fletcher, M. J., 1987, Unknown source title (Report - Survey). SDV346731.

(19/11/1987) Centred SX 53997778. A group of fifteen hut circles, some enclosed by rather ragged walling of boulders and stone, lie in a linear spread on a gentle SE-facing hillslope. The geology is slate, grit and limestone of the metamorphic areole and the area is covered by moorland turf with scattered earthfast boulders. It now lies below the spring line and the narrow sinuous stream which cuts through the site is probably relatively recent origin.
The fragmentary enclosure walls are basically lines of boulders and stones which vary in width from 0.9m to 2.0m and in height from 0.3m to 0.6m. The sub-oval shaped enclosure created at SX 53937783 contains two huts and its boulder walling almost forms a complete circuit; a number of gaps exist and the two in the north side might be original. The huts are well defined presumably because they were all excavated c. 1905.
(The entrances have been noted only where they are clearly evident.)
(Lettering as on the T.D.A. plan.)
A. SX 53907794. 6.1m in internal diameter and levelled into the slope to a depth of 0.4m. The front has been built up and the wall, constructed of boulders with a turf-covered spread of rubble, is on average 1.0m wide and 0.5m high. The hut is isolated from the remainder of the group by a reave (SX 57 NW 54).
B. SX 53967763. 3.6m in internal diameter and levelled into the slope to a depth of 0.4m. The wall constructed of small boulders and stones is 1.3m wide and up to 0.5m high.
C. SX 53957763. 3.1m in internal diameter in disturbed level ground. The wall survives as a single ring of small boulders with a maximum height of 0.6m.
D. SX 54007778. A squarish-shaped hut measuring 5.8m by 4.8m internally and slightly levelled into the slope. Its wall constructed of smallish boulders and stones is on average 2.5m wide and 0.6m high. Two large boulders each 1.2m wide and 1.3m high have been incorporated into the wall and a large orthostat measuring 0.7m by 0.6m and 1.4m in height, which stands in the south side, may have been one of the doorposts of the entrance. The hut is linked to the linear boulder/stone enclosure wall.
E. SX 53997777. 4.9m in internal diameter and levelled into the slope to a depth of 0.4m. The front scarp is 0.3m high and the wall constructed of small boulders and stones with some inner and outer facing slabs is 2.0m wide and up to 0.6m high.
F. SX 53997776. 4.7m by 4.2m internally and levelled into the slope to a depth of 0.3m. The front is built up and the wall constructed of small boulders and stones with some facing boulders is 1.8m wide and 0.6m high. The entrance was possibly on the NE side.
G. SX 53997774. 6.4m in internal diameter and levelled into the slope to a depth of 0.3m. The front is built up and the double-faced wall of boulders and stones is 2.0m wide and 0.6m high. The entrance is on the E side.
H. SX 53987772. 3.5m by 2.6m internally and levelled into the slope to a depth of 0.4m. The frontscarp is 0.3m high and the wall constructed of boulders and stones with some in situ facing boulders is 1.8m wide and up to 0.6m high.
J. SX 54007771. 2.5m by 2.2m internally and levelled into the slope to a depth of 0.4m. The frontscarp is 0.3m high and the wall constructed of small boulders and stones with some very large boulders is 1.3m wide and 0.5m high. A semi-circular wall of similar construction attached to the S side may be a small annex and the hut is linked to an enclosure wall.
Huts K, L, M and N may have all been linked by a sinuous wall however it is now very fragmentary in places so the relationship cannot be deducted with any certainty.
K. SX 54017777. 4.9m by 3.8m internally and levelled into the slope to a depth of 03m. It is built up at the front. The wall constructed of small boulders and stones with some in situ facing boulders is 1.6m wide and 0.5m high. The entrance, now blocked, is on the S side.
L. SX 54017778. 4.0m in internal diameter and levelled into the slope to a depth of 0.4m. The boulder and stone wall which has some in situ facing boulders is 1.3m wide and 0.5m high. The blocked entrance may be on the south side.
M. SX 54027779. 4.6m by 3.9m internally and levelled into the slope to a depth of 0.4m. the front has been built up and the boulder and stone wall with inner and outer facing boulders in situ is up to 2.0m wide and 0.6m high. This hut is linked to hut N by the enclosure wall.
N. SX 54037780. 5.4m by 3.4m internally and levelled into the slope to a depth of 0.4m. The front has been built up and the turf-covered boulder and stone wall with in situ inner and outer facing boulders is 1.7m wide and 0.6m high. The enclosure wall, a 0.6m wide, 0.6m high boulder line, stops short of the north side of the hut.
P. SX 53987781. 4m by 2.4m internally and levelled into the slope to a depth of 0.2m. The boulder and stone wall which incorporates two large orthostats is up to 2.8m wide and 0.6m high. It is linked to hut 'Q'.
Q. SX 53997781. 7.2m in diameter and levelled into the slope to a depth of 0.4m. The front has been built up and the strong turf-covered boulder and stone wall is 3.2m wide and up to 0.7m high. The blocked entrance is in the east side. It is not connected to the enclosure wall as depicted on the RCHM APP transcript. (1985)

Ordnance Survey, 2011, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV346129.

Newman, P., 2019, An Archaeological Earthwork Survey of Tinworks along the Colly Brook, Dartmoor National Park, Devon (Report - Survey). SDV364211.

Surveyed August 2019. (Hut numbering follows DEC report TDA, 1905)
A prehistoric, partly enclosed, hut settlement of 15 hut circles and fragmentary enclosure walls located on the SW moderate slopes of Whittor, north-east of Wedlake at an altitude between 340 and 370m above OD. The settlement is spread over 2.5 hectares (plus one outlying hut circle [A]) extending for 240m north to south. It is within an area of moorland defined by the Colly Brook on the south, and prehistoric reaves running, south-west to north-east and north to south, though any chronological link between the reave and the huts is unknown. All 15 huts were excavated by the Dartmoor Exploration Committee (DEC) and the findings were published in 1905 in the Transactions of the Devonshire Association. Finds included flint, pottery sherds, burnt clay and charcoal.
The huts are all of good size, and the 19th century excavations have exposed some detail of the internal wall structures, though the interiors are again becoming overwhelmed by turf. Some also have visible external wall faces though generally the walls are spread, giving maximum external diameters between 6m and 11m and level interiors of up to 7m diameter. A large quantity of the walling stone has survived, some of which remains in situ. One in particular (D) has two very large, probable door jambs, one either side of the opening, likely to be approximately in situ. Entrances are clear on at least three huts though others are less well defined. One much smaller hut (P), which has a well-defined stone wall and an internal diameter of 3m, is attached to the western side of one of the larger huts (Q).
The enclosure complex has evidence of four enclosures. The northernmost (1) stands detached from the others and is sub-elliptical in shape. Originally the 257m-long enclosure circuit would have contained approximately 0.47 hectares, though a 45m section is missing from the south-east side. The stony bank has many boulders surviving, some in situ, and is spread up to 3.3m wide. The enclosure contains only two hut circles (B and C) both just within the south-eastern quadrant.
The largest enclosure (2) is just to the south. Although sections of the wall are missing on the west and south sides, it probably had a circuit of 404m and covered an area of 0.93 hectares. The walls are poorly preserved but where surviving they are clear stony banks. Three hut circles are built into the eastern wall of the enclosure (D, K and J) and there are four freestanding hut circles with the eastern interior, which together with three additional huts to the north-east appear to be arranged in a linear cluster.
The location of two other very fragmentary section of enclosure wall suggest they formed attached additions. Enclosure 3 covers about 0.2 hectares attached to the north-east corner of enclosure 2. It seems very likely that the alignment of four hut circles (K, L, M, N) on the south-east side were incorporated into this wall though little of this section survives. Enclosure 4 comprises a short intermittent arc of turf covered low stone wall, which probably joined back to enclosure 2, just below hut J. Its southern extent has been effaced by a later tinworking episode.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV228498Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1978. SX57NW15. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV228500Aerial Photograph: National Monuments Record. NMR SX5477. National Monuments Record Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper).
SDV228503Aerial Photograph: National Monuments Record. 1977. NMR SX5377. National Monuments Record Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 2/245.
SDV228504Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1964. 6399. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 0042-3.
SDV247002Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1950. SX57NW15. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV319854Cartographic: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. 1985. Aerial Photograph Project (Dartmoor) - Dartmoor Pre-NMP. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England Aerial Photograph P. Cartographic.
SDV344950Article in Serial: Baring Gould, S.. 1899. Sixth Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 31. Digital. 146-155.
SDV345608Un-published: Robinson, R.. 1982. List of Field Monument Warden Visits 1982. Lists of Field Monument Warden Visits. Printout.
SDV346129Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2011. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #90971 ]
SDV346731Report - Survey: Fletcher, M. J.. 1987. Unknown source title. Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England Field/Recording In.
SDV346733Schedule Document: Department of Environment. 1974. Enclosed stone hut circle settlement on the south slope of White Tor. The Schedule of Monuments. Digital.
SDV346734Unattributed Sites and Monuments Register Entry:
SDV346735Un-published: 1971. Ancient Monuments Wardens Report Form. Unknown.
SDV64587Article in Serial: Baring Gould, S.. 1905. Tenth Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 37. Digital. 141-145.

Associated Monuments

MDV50594Parent of: Hut A north of settlement west of the Colly Brook (Monument)
MDV56638Parent of: Hut B in settlement west of the Colly Brook (Monument)
MDV56639Parent of: Hut C in settlement west of the Colly Brook (Monument)
MDV56640Parent of: Hut D in settlement west of the Colly Brook (Monument)
MDV56641Parent of: Hut E in settlement west of the Colly Brook (Monument)
MDV56642Parent of: Hut F in settlement west of the Colly Brook (Monument)
MDV56643Parent of: Hut G in settlement west of the Colly Brook (Monument)
MDV56644Parent of: Hut H in settlement west of the Colly Brook (Monument)
MDV56645Parent of: Hut J in settlement west of the Colly Brook (Monument)
MDV56646Parent of: Hut K in settlement west of the Colly Brook (Monument)
MDV56647Parent of: Hut L in settlement west of the Colly Brook (Monument)
MDV56648Parent of: Hut M in settlement west of the Colly Brook (Monument)
MDV56649Parent of: Hut N in settlement west of the Colly Brook (Monument)
MDV56650Parent of: Hut P in settlement west of the Colly Brook (Monument)
MDV56651Parent of: Hut Q in settlement west of the Colly Brook (Monument)

Associated Finds

  • FDV5860 - LITHIC IMPLEMENT (Prehistoric - 698000 BC to 42 AD)
  • FDV5863 - METAL WORKING DEBRIS (Prehistoric - 698000 BC to 42 AD)
  • FDV5862 - SLING SHOT (Prehistoric - 698000 BC to 42 AD)
  • FDV5861 - SHERD (Early Bronze Age to Late Iron Age - 2200 BC to 42 AD)
  • FDV5864 - HORSESHOE (Early Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1750 AD)

Associated Events

  • EDV8292 - Survey of the prehistoric settlements north and south of Wedlake
  • EDV8415 - Excavation at settlement near Wedlake Farm

Date Last Edited:Aug 31 2021 10:45AM